Here's a fanfic for the Young Samurai series I posted up on Takes place right after the Ring of Earth.

/~\ After the Farewell/~\

Miyuki stiffened as Jack wrapped an arm around her but relaxed, it was comforting and she felt protected and safe, just as she had in the arms of her mother and father…more hot tears streamed down her cheeks and she abandoned herself to crying before her weeping gradually started to subside.

Reluctantly, she pulled away from Jack's embrace and dried her tear-stained face, true, the painful ache from loosing her family was still there, but telling someone and allowing herself to cry for the first time in a long time had brought a strange release inside.

Taking a deep breath she stood up, 'It's an early harvest this year, we should go help bring it in.'

Jack nodded and climbed to his feet. On impulse Miyuki took the hat from her head and handed it to her friend, 'You'll need a hat by the way,' she said smiling a little.

'Thank-you,' he replied taking it and placing it on his head, 'It's a perfect fit,' they both stood in silence for a few moments gazing into one another's eyes. Miyuki once again felt that warm feeling as she studied his bright blue eyes and handsome face.

That night, as Miyuki went to sleep, the last thing she though of was the azure blue of Jack's eyes and the way they had glinted in the moonlight as he'd stared at her…Jack.

Miyuki slowly walked through the forest, head down. Her eyes burning with unshed tears. She scowled, angrily dashing them away with her hand. Miyuki took a few deep breaths, forcing herself to calm down. But it seemed to hard. She'd lost so much, first her family, then her village, now…now, she'd lost Jack. The ninja paused for a moment, glancing back along the route they'd taken. After the rescue of the ninja clan from the castle they'd started to journey to their new home, deep in the mountains. Somewhere they could live in peace, away from the Samurai.

She and the rest of the clan had been travelling for two days now, but the pain of departing from Jack still gnawed at her. She bit her lip, remembering the way he had reacted upon seeing Akiko. The delight on his face, the way his blue eyes had lit up when he had smiled at her…

'Miyuki?' Soke was looking at her with a slightly concerned expression on his face. The rest of the ninja clan were walking ahead of her, some talking among themselves, Soke had been with Hanzo, but seeing the young ninja had fallen back to check on her, 'Are you alright?'

Miyuki forced a slight smile, 'I'm fine thank-you Soke,' she replied.

Soke raised an eyebrow, her voice was flat and he'd been around the girl long enough to be able to read her, 'What is the matter Miyuki?'

She shrugged nonchalantly, 'Nothing, I'm fine.'

The ninja grandmaster looked at her frankly, unconvinced, 'Very well, just let me know if you want to talk,' he paused for a moment before adding, 'we will be stopping here for a while so you may as well make yourself comfortable,' he walked off slowly, he'd considered pressing her on the matter but was aware that she probably wouldn't have said anything.

Miyuki sank down to the ground, dropping her pack behind her and groping for her water gourd. She gulped at the water, realising how thirsty she was as the water washed down her parched mouth and throat. She looked up as a familiar figure came and stood in front of her, and smiled at little in welcome as she saw it was Tenzen. The Shonin's son had been watching for a while now and had decided to come and talk to her.

'May I join you?' he asked inquiringly.

Miyuki nodded and Tenzen sank down to the ground next to her, he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye before asking softly, 'Is everything alright?'

She scowled, her temper rapidly fraying, 'Of course it is,' came the sharp reply, 'Why wouldn't it be?'

Tenzen blinked, 'I was just wondering,' he replied gently, 'You have seemed a little…distracted recently.

She lowered her eyes, staring at the ground without seeing it, 'I…,' she paused and chewed her lip, before pressing on, 'I miss Jack,' as she said the words she felt a strange sense of relief, relief she'd finally told someone.

Tenzen slowly nodded his understanding, 'I see,' he was silent for a few moments, 'he was a good friend,' he added quietly.

'He was,' agreed Miyuki, 'I can't help but wish he'd of stayed with us.'

'You know he couldn't have, Jack had his sister to think of, it would've been selfish for him to have stayed with us, and he knew it.'

Miyuki nodded slowly, 'I know, I just…' she trailed off.

Tenzen hesitated before gently laying a hand on her arm, Miyuki started a little with surprise, glancing from her friend's hand to his face. They both held each other's gaze for a few long moments, Miyuki suddenly wondered why she'd never realised before how deep a brown Tenzen's eyes were or how his hair fell over his face…

She blinked and hastily looked away, her cheeks turning a deep red, and quickly withdrew her arm.

'Miyuki I…' began Tenzen, thinking he'd offended her in someway, he stopped realising she was smiling at him, true it was a small smile, but it was genuine.

'Thanks Tenzen,' she said softly, and climbed to her feet.

Tenzen quickly scrambled up after her, and they both stood there for a few moments until he coughed a little awkwardly and shuffled his feet, 'You know I was wondering if you'd like to practice shruiken-jutsu with me sometime.'

Miyuki raised an eyebrow, 'Am I that bad at it?' she asked, sounding severe but smiling inside.

'No, no, no,' said Tenzen hastily, 'I just needed a training partner and…'

'I'd love to,' said Miyuki, cutting him off and smiling with genuine warmth.

Soke watched from the shadow of a particularly thick group of bamboo trees and smiled to himself, those two were clearly good for one another. His smile widened, slightly as they both walked off together, talking softly. Yes, Miyuki would soon cease to feel the loss of Jack so keenly, wounds heal over time, and even more quickly when in the presence of a close friend to help heal that aching wound.

Soke's smile faded a little and he sighed, 'May you find your way home safely Jack Fletcher,' he whispered, then turned and walked back to the ninja clan.